According to Liberty Union Superintendent Eric Volta, Superior Court Judge David B. Flinn ruled that all the proper procedures were followed by the Liberty Union High School District in response to the suspensions of 50 Heritage seniors between June 4 and June 8 after they left paint footprints and other markings on school grounds, tied a sheep to a pole, stole banners, moved a bench and posted stickers all over the school that read “I don’t give a (expletive), I’m a senior.”
Attorney Peter Johnson, on behalf of 12 Heritage High School seniors, argued in court Monday that the students’ due process, equal protection and First Amendment rights were violated by the school district’s disciplinary action. He wanted the court to either expunge or seal the students records relating to the prank to prevent them from jeopardizing college admissions.
In the decision released Wednesday, the court said it would not issue a Writ of Mandate, which essentially means the court did not believe the students’ rights were violated, and they do not have a case, Volta said. The suspensions will stay on the students records.
Johnson was originally hired by the 12 students after they were suspended during finals week and prohibited from participating in graduation ceremonies. At the time, some students missed final exams due to the suspension. The LUHSD later cut the suspensions to two days, and announced Monday that students would be able to make up final exams they missed during the time they were suspended, Johnson said.
In its decision Wednesday, the court asked – not ordered – the district to conduct and grade final exams.
Calls to Johnson Wednesday were not returned by press time.
Heritage Principal Larry Oshodi said all Heritage seniors were warned not to pull any senior pranks or risk disciplinary action.
“We are not happy about having to suspend students,” Volta said. “A lot of good kids fell into this.”